Saturday, September 28, 2013

Recording a Great Album: The Golden Rules 31 - 37 of 37

Ready Mix

31. Listen in the studio to CD's you're used to hearing on your home stereo to get an ideal of how the studio's system sounds.

32. If mixing somewhere other than the recording studio you recording in, try and make sure you use the same type of speakers and set-up. If you don't, the mix will sound completely different.

33. Once you have selected an engineer (or a producer) to mix your recording, have them do the first mix. Their ears are better trained than yours. Try to keep an open mind and try to learn from the person you're paying.

34. Think about the songs as a whole and don't signal out instruments, otherwise everyone will want their instrument louder in the mix.

35. Determine a band spokesperson ahead of time. An engineer getting five different opinions on how to mix will grow tired and might cause him/her to rush through the job.

36. Decide which format you want the finished mixes to be on: high resolution .wav or .aiff files on CD-R, DVD-R, or flash drive are the preffered formast, however an audio CD or DAT are viable options as well.

37. Budget and account for unforeseen delays.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recording a Great Album: The Golden Rules 27-30 of 37

Monitoring the Mix

27.  Listen to your music at moderate levels in your car or on a boom box. This is how most of your fans will listen to it, and mixing at loud levels will fatigue your ears and distort the "true" sound.

28. Sometime it's good to take a day off and come back to listen. The same applies for mix-down. Ears don't last very long in the studio.

29. As you review each mix, make sure you can comfortably hear all of the instruments. Tweak the mix on a small pair of speakers at an extremely low volume. Headphones are also very valuable at this stage. You should be able to pick up each instrument even at this level.

30. Learn to recognize ear fatigue. You're better off quitting a session early when you're tired than wasting time making a bad mix that will have be redone anyway. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recording A Great Album: The Golden Rules 20-26 of 37

The Recording Process 

20. Don't necessarily double track everything. Doubling a lead vocal can hide all the subtleties that make a song personal and likable. (Although it can work well for a chorus).

21. Know when to quit for the day, if your tired if will show.

22. Keep guest out! It's your recording. Guest will distract you can menu sway your opinion of how the music should sound.

23. Make backup copies after every recording session.

24. Turn-up often!

25. Singers: always bring water but don't use ice! Ice constricts your vocal chords. Hot tea with lemon and honey works well to relax your vocal chords.

26. Always get a track listing and accurate time log from the studio.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Recording A Great Album: The Golden Rules 14-19 of 37

The Recording Process

14. Remember, it's emotion and feeling that make the best song, not necessarily the best technical rendition.

15. If you mess up a part while recording, don't stop and start over. That can easily cause you to burn out. Instead, check to see if the engineer can punch in the correction.

16. You don't have to fill all the tracks on the tape - don't try to force something that won't fit.

17. Always keep in mind the focus of your music. If it's the vocals, plan to spend the most time on them. Don't waste time on things that don't highlight the focal point.

18. Get the sound you want while recording, never assume you can fix it in the mix.

19. Unless you have unique effects, record individual tracks clean and add effects later.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recording A Great Album: The Golden Rules 7-13 of 37

Preparing to Record

7. Be early! At some studios, the clock starts running whether you're their or not. Find out about their cancellation policy.

8. Make the studio a comfortable relaxed place. If it's not, it will show in your finished product. Most studios will have your basic essentials, but if you need something special or special accommodation, it's up to you to make those arrangements.

9. Make sure you and your engineer have the same vision - go over your songs with him/her before recording. Before booking your studio time, ask to hear other material the engineer recorded. If artist/band and engineer are on different pages, it can be costly for who ever is paying for the studio.

10. Depending on whether the/you studio has 8, 16, 24, or 48 track capability, plan out how you will leave room for all of the essential parts. This should simplify the mix and eliminate the need for bouncing tracks later.

11. Use new strings, chords, drums sticks and heads - and bring spares.

12. Find out the hours of the local music store just in case. Most studios might be able to hook you up with some spare equipment, but you will want to use your style and brand for the perfect outcome.

13. Don't use new gear or different equipment that you haven't used before, "even if it's better than what you have." Surprises can cause problems and just because it's better does not me it will make you play better.

Rule of thumb - if you wait till the studio clock is running to tie up loose-ends it's like throwing money in the garbage. And one more misconception: hangovers and efficiency do not mix.

Recording A Great Album: The Golden Rules 1-6 of 37


Try some of these tips to Record a great Album

  1. Record your songs during live gigs and pre-production rehearsals. Even a simple single track recording may reveal weak parts of songs.
  2. Have all the musical and vocal parts worked out. Know who going to do what and when there going to do it e.i. SOLOS , BREAKS, BRIDGES. No reason to go to the studio and then start wasting time on figuring things out, remember (Time is Money). Even if your not paying for studio time, it's still hard to find the time to get everyone together and frustrating when bands mates and engineers are not on the same level.
  3. Using a computer or Sequencer? Prepare all sequence material before the session. knowing the programs and using templates are a great way to do this.
  4. Rehearse more songs than you plan to record. You never know which songs will sound strong on the final product. (If you plan to have a four-song EP, prepare six songs just in case. 
  5. If you plan to use a click track, make sure your drummer is comfortable playing to it. (To get tight, practice to a click track at a very slow tempo.)
  6. Take care of your body before and during your recordings sessions. Eat well, get engouh sleep, and keep your ears rested and clear.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two Important Tips for Mastering Your Music

Tip One
One question that is often asked when it comes to mastering, “should I master my own music?"

The answer is NO.

I know a lot of people either do their own mastering or want to just because they go out and get some fancy mastering program. But the truth, is not even some of the best engineers in the world master the music they have recorded.

The reason why is because you will spend so much time sitting their listening to the music while you mix it, that your ears will eventually start hearing what they want to hear. This makes it extremely hard to make those very small much needed adjustments.

 If you give it to someone else to master ( lets hope it’s a professional ) they will be hearing it for the first time and this means they will have a totally different prospective on what they are hearing. Frequency can be funky, especially if your just moving them a couple Khz to distinguish separation between two instruments. So why not let a fresh set of ears make these distinguishes.

Tip Two
If you don’t yet know what plug-ins you need to use such as: limiter/compression, eq etc. I suggest you don’t do it. Take it to a professional and stand in while he works; learn, read a book, take a class, but if you don't know what you're doing then you're better off not doing anything.

If you insist on taking on this project, the first thing you need to do is take a long break from the music. Doesn’t mater how good you are at mastering, take a day or two to let your mind and your ears reset.

The second thing you need to do is make sure you use your monitor speakers. Headphones can be used and can be good to reference what your monitors are doing, but for the most part you need to complete the mastering project with your monitors.

One last thing, before you try to master anything, it’s important to make sure you are completely familiar with the software/hardware you are using. This tip does not just go for mastering, but for every part of making music. What is the since of having an expensive music program if you only know how to use half of it's functions.